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Deborah Meier’s Learning Story

When I look back upon my childhood I remember all those myriad occasions when I was in the company of people who were in the throes of trying to explain something that they cared about — sometimes half to themselves and perhaps more often in the company of others. The dinner table, for example. Listening in the car to the conversation of adults. Listening in to my brother and his friends. The dinner table talk was often “above my head”, and I could rarely join in. Still I listened attentively to the world I would someday be old enough to join fully — one I took for granted that I actually “belonged” to. I looked for opportunities to test out whether my ideas could contribute, and it never seemed dangerous to do so. The back-and-forth was sometimes like a good competitive tennis volley with an occasional overhead smash hit; other times, it was a more casual attempt to try out diferent ways of handling the racket. Always, though, it “mattered”. So too, when I was walking in the woods and discussing wildflowers or trees with my mother — and trying unsuccessfully to absorb her knowledge, knowing the proper (Latin) names

Whitney Ferre’s Learning Story

I opened The Creative Fitness Center in 1996 to provide my community with an environment where they could develop the “artist mentality” I had read about in a career book. I did not know where people went to learn this mentality, but I did know (3 years out of U of Mich) that life was much more like a blank canvas than a multiple choice test. The result was an entire community of people who were empowered to create change on the canvas that is their life. I was asked to open a private school based on the supportive, stimulating environment at The Creative Fitness Center. Kids loved it because we respected their own unique expression and made it fun to reach deeper to learn different ways of creating. Our teaching provided them with a foundation on which to build — what they built was up to them! If you read Dan Pink’s book A Whole New Mind, Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future you will see how important it is to “work out” our right brain/creative muscles so that we can follow in your (Obama) footsteps to create change.

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